Monday, February 8, 2010

Freehiking is a Very Soulful Experience

“For me, freehiking is a desirable enough goal that I'll endure some stress to have it. The experience is somewhat different whether I'm in a spot where I know it's OK to be naked or one where I'm taking a small, calculated risk (I'm not so much for big risks, ever. Well, except for the time I got naked at the Great Wall; but, I digress). At a resort with remote trails it's amazing to set off with no cover-up, simply paying attention to nature around me - the sounds, smells, feel of the forest on my all over. The animals are more likely to be curious and not skittish; the rustling leaves talk back to me in a way that they don't when I'm wearing clothes. Likewise on a designated nude beach; eg, had a great 2 mile hike at San Gregorio last fall. There's no stress to begin with, just exuberance. Sometimes I'll just suddenly take off running for a while, from all the energy it creates. Most of my freehiking is done near home in the Northwoods and in remote areas when I travel. I work at finding spots where I'm not likely to meet others - blind trailheads where there are no cars, old logging roads and two-tracks, etc. And I find low-use times. When I find remote spots I always find getting naked irresistible, so I prepare by wearing clothes that are easy to get out of. But I'm still listening for sounds of other people, I carry a cover-up, etc. The experience is always sensuous and rich, but I would say it's more energizing during the naked period and the stress relief comes once I'm done hiking, having had no surprises. The funny thing is that the few times I actually had a surprise (clothed hikers), it never posed a problem. My goal is to keep it that way! Oh yes, freehiking is a very soulful experience. I'm lucky to live where I can do it fairly often.” - Al

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